Belarus and EU May Initial Visa Facilitation Agreement During Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga

Belarus and the European Union may initial a visa facilitation agreement during the forthcoming Fourth Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, Andrey Yewdachenka, the Belarusian ambassador to Belgium, said during a news show broadcast by state television network Belarus One on Sunday night.

Consultations on this matter are scheduled to take place in Minsk on March 10 and 11, Mr. Yewdachenka said.
The Fourth Eastern Partnership Summit will be held in the Latvian capital city on May 21 and 22.

Mr. Yewdachenka, who is Belarus’ permanent representatives to the European Union and NATO, expressed concern about the “lack of a dialogue and cooperation” with NATO, despite the fact that Belarus and the alliance have “clear cooperation plans.” Belarus allowed NATO to fly cargoes to Afghanistan over its territory, he said. “Naturally, we have certain economic dividends,” he said.

The Council of the European Union invited Belarus to start visa facilitation talks as far back as June 2011. However, the government ignored the invitation until the Third Eastern Partnership Summit, which was held in Vilnius in November 2013. Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey announced at the summit that Belarus was ready to start talks with the EU on visa facilitation and readmission.

The first round of the talks took place in Minsk in June 2014 and the second round was held in Brussels in November.

The EU has already signed visa facilitation agreements with Russia and all Eastern Partnership countries except Belarus. The visa fee for the citizens of those countries has been lowered from €60 to €35.

Source: en.belapan.by

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